Raise the Black is sailing across the seas toward your gaming table right now! It’s so close. One of the new elements of this Kickstarter is the multi-part, multipurpose, injection mold plastic miniatures. This style of miniature is very different than the one-piece metal minis that have been standard for Blood & Plunder so far. These new miniatures will be more flexible and can be built up in different ways, but losing the idea of “a set of sculpts = a specific unit” also makes building your force more complicated.
In this article, we’re going to look at the various plastic kits and how they can be built to cover the different new units presented in the Raise the Black expansion.
Everyone who backed Raise the Black will probably be getting a bunch of these sailor models. The two-player starter box contains 4 copies of this sprue that can each build 6 models for 24 total models. This sprue will be very useful, and even essential for anyone planning to play a lot of Blood & Plunder games at sea.
The SAILORS Boxed set contains 2 Sprues and can make 12 models.
Each sprue contains a total of 94 parts including:
- 6 torsos
- 15 heads
- 24 arms
- 12 hats
- 4 muskets (all in hand)
- 13 pistols (9 in hand, including one clubbed, and 4 loose)
- 8 swords (2 varieties, 6 in hand, 2 on belt)
- 2 axes (1 in hand, one on belt)
- 2 boarding pikes (in hand)
- 1 blunderbuss (in hand)
- 1 pointing hand
- 1 hand with explosive
- 1 bag of explosives
- 6 cartridge boxes
There are lots of build variation opportunities here, but there are some limitations. I didn’t have the instruction sheet when I built this set so I had to just try everything. Not all pieces are entirely interchangeable (understandably so). Certain hats only go with certain heads, not all heads fit on all bodies and each body has arm variation possibilities, but not all arms work with all torsos.
Must buy. You can build pretty much your entire crew out of these models. New units that will need these models include the new 3-point Pirates, and the 6-point Roundsmen in the Pirate chapter. These units are armed with Brace of Pistols by default but can replace pistols with, or simply add muskets, and they can add explosives to 1/4 and blunderbusses to 1/3.
You can use models from this sprue to create nation-specific sailors like Sea Dogs, Marineros, etc. The original metal (now becoming plastic) models will have a little more national flavor but these can be used for them all. If you’re playing pirates, this set can be used for all the units available in the Pirate factions in Raise the Black except the African and Native support units. I think you might get bored building your entire crew from these models so I would encourage purchasing some of the original nation-specific sculpts as well.
This sprue can be used to represent a new veteran Spanish sailor unit, the Vizcainos, as well as the standard Spanish Marinero unit present in the core rulebook.
The English gain a new veteran 6-point sailor unit in Raise the Black as well as the Jamaican Privateer unit that uses a musket and sidearm pistol. With only 3 muskets on the sprue, you’ll likely want to use all of those from multiple sprues to build up plenty of Jamaican Privateer models as they are cheap and very useful in this expansion.
Like the English, the French gain a veteran sailor with lots of weapon options and a “downgraded” Flibustier that uses a musket and brace of pistols in this book. You could mix some of these models in with muskets in with the original Flibustiers and Freebooters to create distinctive units of Jamaican Privateers and Later Flibustiers.
The Dutch don’t gain any new sea units in this expansion, but these models can be used to represent their signature Zeelieden and Enter Ploeg which are used extensively in the Dutch faction in Raise the Black. Again, I would recommend getting some of the original sculpts to mix in with these to get the national flavor but that’s only aesthetic. Sailors equipped with muskets can be used as Kapers from NPBtL as well. The Dutch do gain a new militia unit armed with lances that 2 of these models can be used for (supplemented with Lancero models).
These aren’t useful for the Native factions in Raise the Black.
There’s a new generic Artillerymen unit that this sprue could represent, but I would tend to prefer the Pressed Men set of sculpts holding artillery equipment.
The Militia Sprue is probably the second most useful and widely used set of miniatures for factions found in Raise the Black. This set of miniatures can be used to build nearly every core militia unit currently available for the various minor power nations. Just remember to be careful to equip them correctly when it comes to carrying a Firelock or Matchlock musket. Spanish Milicianos and European Militia have Matchlocks while French Miliciens, Dutch Militie, and English Militia all have Firelock muskets.
The MILITIA Boxed set contains 2 Sprues and can make 12 models.
Each Sprue includes pieces to build 6 models. The 84 pieces on the sprue include:
- 6 bodies, including 3 with legs included as separate parts.
- 15 heads
- 6 separate arms
- 6 Flintlock Muskets in hands/arms
- 4 Matchlock Muskets in hands/arms
- 14 hats (11 floppy and 3 pinned up as tricorns)
- 6 plug bayonets
- 6 axes (thrown weapons)
- 9 swords in 3 styles
- 6 small cartridge boxes
- 3 haversack/powder horn combos
Note: Due to there only being a total of 4 models that can be armed with Matchlock Muskets, you will need 2 boxes and some kitbashing creativity to make an entire 12 man unit of models armed with them. In Raise the Black, there are two untis that use Matchlock Muskets: Spanish Frontier Militia and the Dutch Zvarte Militie. This will also be the case if you are using the sprues to make 17th Century units, where Matchlock Muskets are more prevalent.
I don’t consider this sprue great for the Pirate factions as they look much more, “land based” with their heavier clothing and floppy hats. The miniatures could be used for some units armed with muskets, especially if you added a sidearm pistol from the sailor sprue.
This is a very useful sprue for the Spanish. Raise the Black contains 3 new Spanish units that can be built exclusively with this sprue. With the matchlocks, this sprue is really great for adding variety to the Milicianos used in the 17th-century faction as well. There is no 12 apostle attachment for these models which is a little sad, but mixing some of these with the existing Spanish sculpts will be useful for both the 17th and 18th-century units found in No Peace Beyond the Line and Raise the Black.
There is a new “Frontier Militia” unit that will be a mainstay for North American English factions. This sprue will be perfect for this unit, as well as supplementing the sailor models for creating the Jamaican Privateer unit.
This sprue is less useful for the new French units in Raise the Black, but French Canadian militia, or the Milicien unit from No Peace Beyond the Line that never had a sculpt could be represented or supplemented from these minis.
If you play Dutch on land, this is a great sprue for you. You can use these models to represent the Dutch Boslopers from No Peace Beyond the Line and the new, bush fighting Vrij Compagnieen unit in Raise the Black.
These are not terribly useful for the Native factions in Raise the Black.
This is a useful sprue for the Portuguese factions, the Last Buccaneers faction (for Jamaican Privateers), and even the Maroon faction in the Unaligned chapter. They could also be used for the European Militia unit in No Peace Beyond the Line which is core for many of the Minor Power factions in that book.
Representing the early 18th-century professional soldiers sent from Europe, this sprue will be useful for every European nation in Raise the Black.
Since there are options for Firelock and Matchlock muskets, along with a variety of bayonets, hats, and explosives, this sprue can be used to make standard soldiers, grenadiers, and some of the provincial units. Using the Matchlock muskets and floppy hats, you can use these for the “professional soldier” class of unit from No Peace Beyond the Line. The models available on this sprue do not have very flexible poses, but the models can be customized with hat, musket, and cartridge box variations.
The SOLDIERS Boxed set contains 2 Sprues and can make 12 models.
Each With enough pieces (76) to create 6 models, this sprue includes:
- 6 bodies, including 2 with separate legs
- 6 heads
- 18 hats, including 6 tricorns, 6 floppy, and 6 grenadier hats
- 6 Firelock muskets, 5 with socket bayonets, one without (with arms)
- 6 Matchlock muskets with arms
- 6 arms
- 6 swords
- 6 small cartridge boxes
- 6 larger cartridge boxes
- 1 socket bayonet
- 6 plug bayonets
This sprue is not useful at all for the Pirate factions.
The Spanish army looks like it’s going to be an awesome faction. The Soldados Reformados are a very strong, standard, soldier unit that will be the core of the Spanish army. You can alter their hats and equipment to use them as Granaderos.
This is a great sprue for the English as well. With it you can make the Regular, Grenadier, and even the Provincial unit in Raise the Black (and the earlier Provincials in Fire on the Frontier). Even if you don’t plan to play the Army factions, the English have access to the Provincial unit in their militia factions.
The French also have 3 new units that can utilize this sprue, including the Fusiliers, French Grenadiers, and Compagnies Franches de la Marine (although there are additional sculpts coming out for the North American Compagnies).
The Dutch get a new Soldier and Grenadier unit that can utilize these models as well.
This sprue only provides targets for the Native factions in Raise the Black.
The new European Regulars are used by the Portuguese factions in Raise the Black. Also, when equipped with Matchlock muskets and floppier hats, they could be soldier units in No Peace Beyond the Line for the various minor European powers.
While the Raise the Black book includes more North American Native factions than Caribbean, the Native sprue produced as part of the Raise the Black project cannot be used to create North American native models. There are new plastic and metal Braves, Young Braves, and Pnieses models for these new factions in Raise the Black. But this sprue can be used to make models for some of the more unique factions found in Raise the Black.
The NATIVE AMERICANS Boxed set contains 2 Sprues and can make 12 models.
With an astonishing 90 pieces, each sprue contains:
- 4 bodies including 44 with separated legs
- 14 heads including 4 with Caribbean style headdresses, and 6 African heads
- 17 arms
- 9 loincloth pieces
- 6 bows in hand
- 4 muskets in hand
- 4 large Caribbean style clubs in hand
- 4 spears in hand
- 2 machetes in hand
- 2 arrows in hand
- 4 quivers
- 1 pistol in hand
- 6 knife blades
- 4 bag/powder horns
This sprue will not be helpful for some of the prominent North American native factions like Iroquois and Creek, but it will be useful for some of the more southern tribes like Yamassee and Choctaw in Raise the Black. Thhis sprue can build the new Rengadoes unit from the Unaligned chapter (dude with a melee weapon).
Pirate factions have some African and Native support units available that this sprue would be great to represent.
Again, there are some African and Native support units available to several Spanish factions. One of the interesting new units is the Milicianos Indios de la Florida, which is a less trained, more native version of the Milicianos Indios. The Spanish Mission Garrison faction uses a large number of these units and you could use a good portion of these models to build up units for that faction.
The British Militia and British Army factions can utilize both Africans and Natives as support units as well.
Many of the French factions incorporate Native units as support or even core units, but most of them use primarily North American units. The French Privateers and French Army factions in the Caribbean could utilize this sprue if you want to include them as support choices.
The Dutch Caribbean Militia faction uses Caribbean Natives units as support choices and these models would be useful if you want to employ those units.
This is where it gets fun! The Maroons (and their several faction options) are a very new style of force in Raise the Black as are the Miskito Zambo which would need this sprue as no other models currently available can fill out their force lists. Using the African heads, this sprue can be used to create the new elite Coromantee unit, as well as the African Warriors unit with muskets instead of bows. The Renegadoes unit can also be built with this sprue.
The cavalry sprue is an extremely welcome addition to the Firelock model lineup. Not only is this cavalry more than 50% cheaper ($29 for 6 models), but it provides options for cavalry with lances. These models are essentially the same as the metal sculpts but the sprue only has 3 models, omitting the model with the rearing horse and the man raising the sword across his body to strike.
The CAVALRY Boxed set contains 2 Sprues and can make 6 models with multiple weapon options.
Each With a total of 50 parts, the Cavalry sprue includes:
- 6 horse halves
- 3 torsos
- 3 heads
- 6 legs
- 2 arms holding pistols
- 1 arm holding a sword
- 3 arms holding lances
- 3 arms holding reigns
- 6 hats (3 tricorns and 3 floppy hats)
- 3 carbines
- 3 swords in scabbards
- 6 holstered pistols
- 3 blanket rolls
Cavalry is not useful for the Pirate factions in Raise the Black.
The Spanish have several factions that can use cavalry and the Caballeria Lanceros from No Peace Beyond the Line have needed a model for a long time! There are no new Spanish cavalry units not already present in No Peace Beyond the Line, but they will be very useful for Spanish land factions. One box includes 6 models and that’s a decent size for a single unit. Wouldn’t hurt to get two or three boxes if you really want to make a serious Spanish cavalry force.
The various English land factions have multiple options for the Cavalry Militia unit from NPBtL. However, the best cavalry option in the game is possibly the new Frontier Militia which can be upgraded to a mounted unit. If you like English on land, this is a great box to give your forces some fun diversity.
French have strong cavalry in No Peace Beyond the Line and that unit is available to one of the French Militia factions in Raise the Black.
The Dutch factions have no options for cavalry in Raise the Black but these are useful for the two Dutch Militia factions in No Peace Beyond the Line.
The Natives cannot make use of these cavalry models.
The Portuguese are the only unaligned faction that can use the cavalry models in this set, but they are included as core units in the Brazilian Portuguese Garrison. And, as per usual, the Portuguese can combo some weird rules and do some awesome stuff. The Portuguese are one of the only factions with Cavalry as core unit option, making them one of the only factions that can have a mounted commander.
This sprue is all about the named legendary pirates. There are no customization options built into the sprue, but you could add leftover weapons from other sprues if you wanted to Rambo-ize your favorite pirate villain.
This sprue contains 10 custom sculpts for 10 historical characters:
- Charles Vane
- Stede Bonnet
- Calico Jack Rackham
- Olivier “La Buse” Levasseur
- Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts
- Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy
- Black Caesar
- Anne Bonny
- Mary Read
- Amaro “Pargo” Rodriguez Felipe
With no customization, this is the easiest sprue to assemble and I think most of the sculpts are top tier. These are heavily weighted towards the Pirate nationality, with all but Pargo coming from the Pirate chapter. But you can use these cool models for other generic or lesser historical commanders if you want.
Notably absent from this list is Blackbeard and Maynard! They don’t come in this Pirates of Legend sprue but they come in the…
The two player starter box is a great place to start with Raise the Black, even if you already have a solid Blood & Plunder collection. The box is very cheap for what you get, but another reason to buy the box if the Blackbeard and Maynard models.
The two-player starter box comes with 4 sprues of sailors so you can make two 12-man crews of Pirates/Spanish/English/French/Dutch/Portuguese sailors.
As far as I know, the starter box is the only place to get the Blackbeard and Maynard models right now. I heard a rumor that the Maynard/Blackbeard mini sprue might be available separately at some point, but I can’t confirm that at the moment.
Blackbeard and Maynard are also great sculpts, with a super aggressive Blackbeard pose and a disciplined Maynard pose. Again, there are no customization or optional parts, but they’re great minis. And that Maynard mini could be any low-ranking English naval officer.
Box of Plunder
I think almost everyone who backed the Kickstarter is getting the “Box of Plunder” sprue. Unfortunately, it’s a Kickstarter Exclusive and not available for as part of the Raise the Black preorder products. Like any box of plunder, there’s some super great stuff in the box and some less thrilling stuff. In addition to some terrain and special models, there are lots of extra bits and parts for use in customizing minis from other sprues.
Containing 65 individual pieces, the Box of Plunder sprue includes:
- 1 18th Century Commander model (very useful miniature)
- 1 Priest Model (Father Labat is a character in RtB)
- 1 Alternate Sculpt of Blackbeard (“Skinnybeard”)
- 4 casualty minis (these are plastic versions of the sculpts released as part of the NPBtL KS)
- 1 Parrot
- 1 Pegleg
- 1 Hooked Hand
- 1 Drum (the way this is pieced out makes it “not my favorite thing in the world”)
- 1 Blunderbuss
- 2 Pieces of Artillery Equipment in hands
- 1 stack of cannonballs
- 2 Barrell
- 1 Chest (replica of Captain Kidd’s chest)
- 1 “Sacks of Loot” objective token
- 1 Monkey
- 1 Sword
- 1 Standard Pole in hand
- 1 Morian Helmet
- 1 Boarding Axe
What You Can Build with the Box of Plunder Sprue
If you have a way to get this sprue, then get at least one. The thing you might want multiples of is the generic commander. I’d like to have at least 3 of them painted up as different styles of commanders.
Everything else on this sprue is also useful in multiples, with the exception of maybe the “Skinnybeard” model. Although, he may work as a proxy for a Grizzled Veteran or Officer.
And of course, last but not least … we have the Blunder Monkey!
Everyone needs 1 or more of these commander models!
That’s all the sprues except the set of Sloops, which we will look at later. What is best for you will depend on how you play the game and which nation(s) you prefer to play. As a basic rule of thumb, if you like playing Blood & Plunder at sea, buy several Sailor sprues and maybe a Militia sprue or two. If you like playing on land, grab multiples of the Militia and some of the Soldier sprue. If you like Caribbean Native factions, or want to try the Maroons in Raise the Black, you should get multiples of the Native sprue. Cavalry is more of a specialty unit that is fun to play and a useful unit for many militia factions.
If you’re playing Blood & Plunder, you should really pick up the Pirates of Legend box. They are great minis and useful for fun commanders and characters, even beyond the named legendary commanders in Raise the Black. And a 2-Player Starter Set is a real steal with 2 ships, 24 sailors, Blackbeard and Maynard, and all those extra bits and accessories. The starter box is a great place to start.
I hope that helps you plan your purchases! You can find an older buying guide here as well. What are you looking forward to most? Drop a comment if you have any questions regarding these sprues. They’re currently on the ship, making their way across the ocean from China now! Delivery is getting closer!
By Joseph Forster
Additional Article Suggestions
- Learn more about the new Blackbeard Commander and his faction in Raise the Black Preview – Edward “Blackbeard” Teach
- Get a sneak peek at the new Bermuda Sloops in Bermuda Sloop Hot Takes
- Not sure what to get other than the Kickstarter? Buyer’s Guide for Backers of Raise the Black
- Check out the Blood & Plunder: Raise the Black 2-Player Starter Box Preview